It is funny in a sad way how systems of theology (especially erroneous ones) effect the way we live and minister to others.
I remember listening to Christian radio maybe 5-6 years ago and hearing “those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed”. I won’t saturate you with the scriptures that were used to defend such a case. But to put it frankly they are all Old Covenant texts. I remember hearing people cheer as Israel would strike their enemies (my good brother Daniel Cosby has a good post on facebook about that). So they would applaud the death of those wicked “Palestinians”.
I really didn’t know how to take that. I thought it wrong to cheer the death of an enemy given the fact that Jesus says “love your enemies” and Paul says “if your enemy is thirsty bring him something to drink”. I would wonder how we would applaud the death of someone who did not know Jesus thus they would spend an eternity away from God. I thought that we should mourn and tear our clothes at such an event, but many were endorsing and applauding all in the name of American Christians responsibility to “bless Israel”.
So I want to address a theological fallacy. That fallacy is the one that states Israel is God’s people! Now to be biblically faithful Israel is God’s chosen people, the problem is who is the “True” Israel. If you spend anytime in Romans or Galatians or Ephesians or even Peter that questioned is answered quite easily. The problem is when we apply the broken interpretive method of reading the New Testament through the lens of the Old. That is similar to a group of individuals who celebrate the first half of a football game when they were up 3 points at half but lost by 30!
If you want to faithfully handle your bible, the first thing you want to do is begin with the fulfillment of God’s plan. Paul says God gave Him the full revelation to that which was a mystery hidden from the writers of the Old Testament. They see shadows and types, however, the New Testament writers see the full picture. They don’t talk about a Messiah. John says “we touched Him”. Peter says the prophets “longed” and “speculated” on what God was revealing to them, however, they walked with Jesus and received the full revelation of God’s eternal plan of redemption.
So with that said, there is only ONE people of God. Paul says in Ephesians “that two people are made one new man”. The one new man is the Church or the true Israel of God in Christ! That leads to the point of this blog. The church is not to involve herself with the ethnocentric/nationalistic/self preserving conflict in the middle east, other than to pray for peace and to find a way to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ.
To applaud Israel’s method of controlling a land (that has been fulfilled in Christ) is to employ, as Boyd would say, the kingdom of man! As believers we don’t get people groups to comply by exercising power over, but power under. I remember when Dr. Black told me “I pray for the opportunity to wash Bin Laden’s feet“.
Peace in the Gaza Strip will not be accomplished with the sword. As Jesus says “he who lives by the sword will die by the sword”. Jesus did not gather a group of man to bring a militia against Rome! Jesus was not concerned with an earthly parcel of land, wrongly defined today as the “promised land”. No! Jesus’ kingdom was not and is not of this world and that means neither is ours. The kingdom we are servants of is the kingdom where our King currently reigns and will reign until God the Father makes all of His enemies His footstool. Those enemies aren’t Palestinians friend. Those enemies are those who did not do will of the Father.
I want to let you know I am not “anti-Semitic”. I am pro-Christ! And Christ’s heart is for the whole world and the remnant that will believe is who the bible calls Israel or as Paul says in Romans 2 “a true Jew”. I love Palestinians as much as I love the Jewish people. I love Iraqis as much as I love Americans who they are fighting with.
We should be alarmed when a minister of the Gospel spews hate speech from his mouth in the name of nationalism. The center of the Gospel is love displayed by a “joy” (as Hebrews says) to endure Calvary. Believe it or not, Jesus does not need the land we have defined as Israel today. Jesus is not coming to set up an earthly kingdom. Jesus is already reigning as the Son of David and when He returns He will return for His bride that He has made pure. Our job is prepare others for the King.
I close with this. Our hearts should be broken by the constant warfare and the loss of life that plagues this never ending conflict. We should be quick to rebuke anyone who applauds such demonic nationalism, especially if they name the name of Christ. We have the only answer to the problem. That answer is Jesus of whom both those of Israel and Palestine reject. As bullets fly in this earthly realm we are to move to the Spiritual. Lets beg our Lord of peace and reconciliation during these turbulent times. Both parties are equally wicked, both are fighting for a parcel of land that will be leveled at the second coming of our Lord. Neither are endorsed by God. Lets pray that the Gospel would infiltrate their hearts and they would drop the national ties and see each others as brothers and sisters, which only can be done by and through the Spirit!